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Vampires Sleep in Coffins

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Vampires Sleep in Coffins

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Morgenthaler on Mar 28th 2018 at 7:27:49 AM
Last Edited By:
Morgenthaler on Apr 6th 2018 at 12:05:15 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

An old convention around vampires is the idea that these creatures of the night sleep in coffins during the day. This trope works for several reasons, primarily to emphasize that they are members of the living dead so their deviancy is naturally reflected in their sleeping habits. Additionally, coffins are a good way to keep out that pesky sunlight that tends to cause bad sunburns to vampires. On the downside, this might make the vampire more vulnerable to being attacked by someone with a Wooden Stake.

A related stock move is the Pivotal Wake-up, a specific way that vampires get out of their coffins once they wake up.

As with any other vampire trope, this one is prone to being played with or avoided as much as it is played straight.


Examples:

Advertising

  • In this commercial for Duracell batteries, a toy vampire powered by a Duracell battery awakens from his coffin after sleeping in there for three years, which the announcer uses to describe the shelf life of the then-new-and-improved Duracell battery.

Anime and Manga

  • Hellsing:
    • Alucard the vampire sleeps in his special coffin when he needs to rest; doing so also recharges his energy as most of his powers are sealed within the coffin.
    • The new vampire Seras Victoria is issued a coffin, and is locked in it during the flight to Argentina in one episode as she's too young to resist sunlight or cross running water like Alucard can.
  • Digimon Adventure: Myotismon/Vamdemon, a vampire Digimon Arc Villain, sleeps in a coffin in his castle. After his forces have invaded Tokyo, it's shown that he's taken his coffin along with him for the ride.

Comic Books

  • Requiem Vampire Knight: Requiem sleeps in a coffin in his private quarters on Resurrection. He also uses it for sex when he is reunited with Rebecca.
  • Averted in Preacher: Cassidy has never slept in a coffin, as vampires here have no connection to religion (they burn in sunlight and need to drink blood, but animal blood is fine). He later runs into a fellow vampire who invokes as many of the Classical Movie Vampire traits as he can despite none of them being actually necessary (and them of them aren't possible, like turning into a bat).

Fan fiction

Jared: Coffins.

Film

  • Of course, this trope appears in the Bela Lugosi Dracula films. And was mocked in Mel Brooks' Dracula: Dead and Loving It, with a scene where Dracula levitates majestically from his coffin only to band his head on a low-hanging chandelier.
  • Fright Night (1985): The vampire Jerry Dandrige sleeps in a coffin during the day.
  • Fright Night 2: New Blood: Charlie tries to hide in Gerri's coffin to witness her next Blood Bath ritual. She notices and tries to eat him before he narrowly escapes by using his camera flash against her.
  • In The Fearless Vampire Killers, Count von Krolocks and his son sleep in wooden coffins while the rest of the vampires sleep in stone crypts.
  • What We Do in the Shadows, has the vampire roommates sleeping in coffins, with the 8000 year old vampire Petyr sleeping in a stone coffin. One scene has Viago place a picture of a woman he loved years ago inside his coffin, and then the coffin lid shakes violently, implying that Viago is "busy".

Literature

  • The rules in Bram Stoker's original Dracula novel were actually way more complicated. Dracula lost his powers in the daylight and still had to rest sometime. He could only do so in a coffin containing soil from his homeland, and pouring holy water in the coffins ruined them for his use. A large part of the early hunt for Dracula was eliminating all his coffins and safehouses in England.
  • In The Saga of Darren Shan, vampires sleep in coffins if they can, but they don't need to (and they're not undead).
  • Zigzagged in the Dracula stories of Fred Saberhagen. In those stories, vampires can only rest on the soil of their homeland, and coffins are simply a common means of holding and transporting that soil. Dracula himself at various times uses coffins, large travel trunks, and sealed plastic mattress pads, all containing the necessary soil from his homeland.
  • In the Fighting Fantasy Choose Your Own Adventure book Vault Of The Vampire, the vampire you are hunting, Count Reiner Heydrich, keeps several coffins in various locations around his castle. A major part of the quest is destroying them so he does not have anywhere else to flee to but the nearest coffin during the final battle.
  • In his book Dave Barry Turns 40 Dave gives some advice for looking young:
    Step One is never go out in the daylight. Your role model here is the vampire community, whose members keep their skin attractively smooth and waxy for thousands of years. I am not suggesting here that you should live in some dank castle, sleeping in a coffin by day and venturing forth at night to drink human blood; top dermatologists agree that there's no reason why you can't keep your coffin in your current home.

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons. In early versions of Advanced D&D, vampires are required to rest in coffins (or similar containers) during daylight hours unless they are deep underground.

Video Games

  • The Sims:
    • In The Sims 3, if you have expansions, vampires can sleep in coffins, but vampires can also sleep in normal beds.
    • In The Sims 4 Vampires expansion pack, vampires have the option of sleeping in beds or coffins, unless they have a weakness that restricts them to coffins.
  • Zig-zagged in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, it is not required for vampires to sleep in a coffin, and some of them, such as Hert and Sybille Stentor, can sleep on a bed perfectly fine. But some vampires, such as Alva, and those living in Castle Volkihar and Redwater Den, do sleep in coffins. You can also find several coffins littered all over Broken Fang Cave, although they're not usable. You can however sleep in those found in Castle Volkihar and Redwater Den even when you're not a vampire. With the Hearthfire expansion installed, installing furniture in a house while playing as a vampire character gives the option of adding a coffin in the basement, which can be used in the same way as a bed.
  • Divine Divinity: A vampire that has been plaguing Rivertown sleeps in a coffin hidden in a cave behind a locked grate.
  • Touhou: Remilia Scarlet insists that she would never sleep in a coffin, saying they're for dead people. Eventually, however, we're shown her actual bedroom, and it contains an elaborate four-poster bed... with a coffin on it.
  • In BloodNet, vampiric party members can only rest in a coffin (actually a sarcophagus you steal from the museum) lined with dirt from their home.

Western Animation

  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures episode "Chi of the Vampire", while the Chans are visiting an old castle in China, Jade opens up a coffin and accidentally awakens a sleeping Jiangshi, which then roams around to attack them.

Indexes: Vampire Tropes, Sleep and Wakefulness Tropes

Feedback: 31 replies

Mar 28th 2018 at 11:52:07 AM

  • In The Sims 3, if you have expansions, vampires can sleep in coffins, but vampires can also sleep in normal beds.

Mar 28th 2018 at 12:23:20 PM

Likewise...

  • In The Sims 4 Vampires expansion pack, vampires have the option of sleeping in beds or coffins, unless they have a weakness that restricts them to coffins.

See also the Sub Trope Pivotal Wakeup, which covers a specific way that vampires get out of their coffins once they wake up.

Mar 28th 2018 at 2:53:16 PM

The rules in Bram Stoker's original Dracula novel were actually way more complicated. Dracula lost his powers in the daylight and still had to rest sometime. He could only do so in a coffin containing soil from his homeland, and pouring holy water in the coffins ruined them for his use, a large part of the early hunt for Dracula was eliminating all his coffins and safehouses in England.

Of course, this trope appears in the Bela Lugosi Dracula films. And was mocked in Mel Brooks' Dracula Dead and Loving It, with a scene where Dracula levitates majestically from his coffin only to band his head on a low-hanging chandelier.

Mar 28th 2018 at 3:51:55 PM

Advertising

  • In this commercial for Duracell batteries, a toy vampire powered by a Duracell battery awakens from his coffin after sleeping in there for three years, which the announcer uses to describe the shelf life of the then-new-and-improved Duracell battery.

Mar 28th 2018 at 8:37:31 PM

Alucard the vampire of Hellsing sleeps in his special coffin when he needs to rest; doing so also recharges his energy as most of his powers are sealed within the coffin.

Mar 29th 2018 at 3:55:37 AM

Film - Live Action

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons And Dragons. In early versions of Advanced D&D, vampires are required to rest in coffins (or similar containers) during daylight hours unless they are deep underground.

Mar 29th 2018 at 5:01:36 AM

Zig-zagged in The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, it is not required for vampires to sleep in a coffin, and some of them, such as Hert and Sybille Stentor, can sleep on a bed perfectly fine. But some vampires, such as Alva, and those living in Castle Volkihar and Redwater Den, do sleep in coffins. You can also find several coffins littered all over Broken Fang Cave, although they're not usable. You can however sleep in those found in Castle Volkihar and Redwater Den even when you're not a vampire.

Mar 29th 2018 at 5:17:35 AM

Averted in Preacher: Cassidy has never slept in a coffin, as vampires here have no connection to religion (they burn in sunlight and need to drink blood, but animal blood is fine). He later runs into a fellow vampire who invokes as many of the Classical Movie Vampire traits as he can despite none of them being actually necessary (and them of them aren't possible, like turning into a bat).

Mar 29th 2018 at 7:44:44 AM

Fanfic.Dungeon Keeper Ami: From Invasion Planning:

Ami: "True. But tell me, where do vampires sleep?"
Jared: Coffins.

Mar 29th 2018 at 10:46:19 AM

  • Wizards Of Waverly Place: Juliet and her parents sleep in coffins. Juliet's is decorated with roses and butterflies, while her parents' coffins are hidden behind a wall.

Mar 29th 2018 at 10:49:14 AM

In The Saga Of Darren Shan, vampires sleep in coffins if they can, but they don't need to (and they're not undead).

Mar 29th 2018 at 10:57:54 AM

Western Animation

  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures episode "Chi of the Vampire", while the Chans are visiting an old castle in China, Jade opens up a coffin and accidentally awakens a sleeping Jiangshi, which then roams around to attack them.

Mar 29th 2018 at 11:00:19 AM

Addition to the Skyrim example: With the Hearthfire expansion installed, installing furniture in a house while playing as a vampire character gives the option of adding a coffin in the basement, which can be used in the same way as a bed.

Mar 29th 2018 at 4:38:03 PM

Also in Hellsing new vampire Seras Victoria is issued a coffin, and is locked in it during the flight to Argentina in one episode as she's too young to resist sunlight or cross running water like Alucard can.

Mar 31st 2018 at 12:01:00 PM

Film:

  • In The Fearless Vampire Killers, Count von Krolocks and his son sleep in wooden coffins while the rest of the vampires sleep in stone crypts.

Mar 31st 2018 at 12:03:54 PM

  • Divine Divinity: A vampire that has been plaguing Rivertown sleeps in a coffin hidden in a cave behind a locked grate.

Apr 1st 2018 at 3:42:16 AM

Literature

  • Both played straight and averted in the Dracula stories of Fred Saberhagen. In those stories, vampires can only rest on the soil of their homeland, and coffins are simply a common means of holding and transporting that soil. Dracula himself at various times uses coffins, large travel trunks, and sealed plastic mattress pads, all containing the necessary soil from his homeland.

Apr 1st 2018 at 7:52:44 AM

In the Fighting Fantasy Choose Your Own Adventure book Vault Of The Vampire, the vampire you are hunting, Count Reiner Heydrich, keeps several coffins in various locations around his castle. A major part of the quest is destroying them so he does not have anywhere else to flee to but the nearest coffin during the final battle.

Apr 1st 2018 at 9:52:00 AM

  • Touhou: Remilia Scarlet insists that she would never sleep in a coffin, saying they're for dead people. Eventually, however, we're shown her actual bedroom, and it contains an elaborate four-poster bed... with a coffin on it.

Apr 3rd 2018 at 12:05:57 PM

  • What We Do In The Shadows, has the vampire roommates sleeping in coffins, with the 8000 year old vampire Petyr sleeping in a stone coffin. One scene has Viago place a picture of a woman he loved years ago inside his coffin, and then the coffin lid shakes violently, implying that Viago is "busy".

Apr 4th 2018 at 4:12:03 AM

In Bloodnet, vampiric party members can only rest in a coffin (actually a sarcophagus you steal from the museum) lined with dirt from their home.

Apr 4th 2018 at 8:41:00 AM

So, any reason for this not to be launched?

Apr 4th 2018 at 10:44:59 AM

We're not in any hurry. This is one of those tropes that is so common, it can easily keep gathering more examples.

In addition, a good quote and/or page image would help. If there isn't by the time this launches, I'll start an Image Pickin' thread for it.

Apr 4th 2018 at 12:39:47 PM

Well, we have a lot of TLP drafts, and not sure if we should keep things that are basically launch ready, and adding more backlog.

^^ - Still Morgenthaler's draft, but Sponsors can be overruled by enough community pressure, IIRC.

Apr 4th 2018 at 2:34:26 PM

LITERATURE

WESTERNANIMATION

Apr 4th 2018 at 7:59:01 PM

^ You might want to re-word that first example so that people don't have to mouse over the links to see that what seems to be duplicates are literature and a TV show.

Apr 5th 2018 at 8:08:52 AM

^^ Yep, please take a look at Example Indentation In Trope Lists. Both examples are poorly formatted.

Apr 5th 2018 at 8:40:55 AM

In his book Dave Barry Turns 40 Dave gives some advice for looking young:

Step One is never go out in the daylight. Your role model here is the vampire community, whose members keep their skin attractively smooth and waxy for thousands of years. I am not suggesting here that you should live in some dank castle, sleeping in a coffin by day and venturing forth at night to drink human blood; top dermatologists agree that there's no reason why you can't keep your coffin in your current home.

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